PolitiFact Wisconsin’s Strange Priorities
Do we now know more about Governor Scott Walker’s hair than we do about whether Congressman Mark Pocan (D-Madison) sponsored an anti-Israeli forum on Capitol Hill?
That looks to be the case with one of the latest editions of PolitiFact Wisconsin’s series of fact checks. In a piece entitled “A Hairy Situation” which ran on Monday July 3, a contributor to the PolitiFact Wisconsin team analyzed a comment Pocan made to a liberal talk radio show, “The Thom Hartmann Program” about Walker’s hair.
Then his policy rip, turned into this riff:
“Trust me, Scott Walker has not had an original thought in his head for a long, long time,” Pocan said. “The most original thing he said recently is that he got his bald spot from hitting his head on a cabinet, and it’s not a joke. He actually said his bald spot came because he hit his head on a cabinet.”
To be sure, Pocan has less hair than Walker.
But is Pocan right?
What followed from the state’s “premiere” media fact checker was a story providing links to newspaper articles from the summer 2015 when this topic first became “news” when Gov. Walker was still a presidential candidate. In addition to the articles, were a series of quotes from dermatologists about whether or not scar tissue can lead to a bald spot. (Yes, yes it can.)
Perhaps a much more timely fact check for the PolitiFact Wisconsin team would be what Congressman Pocan was doing in the days prior to his interview with Hartmann, which took place on June 8. We at Media Trackers and other news outlets were transfixed on a story by Adam Kredo of the Washington Free Beacon. Kredo reported in early June that Pocan was behind a controversial anti-Israeli forum being held on Capitol Hill on the same day.
As we noted at the time, some sort of conscious media blackout by the Wisconsin press took place shortly after the initial claim came out. Few if any mainstream media outlet gave any mention whatsoever about Kredo’s claims against Pocan. Wouldn’t it been a more productive and informative to their readers of PolitiFact Wisconsin if they investigated the facts behind the Free Beacon’s story?
Double-checking the work, facts, and sources of other news sources is what’s supposed to be at the core of PolitFact; both nationally or in Wisconsin. Whether they wish to investigate it or not, one would have a hard time arguing whether finding out if Pocan sponsored the anti-Israeli event or not to be much more newsworthy than a man’s bald spot.
Even we’d rate that claim that “Mostly True.”